By Jueseppi B.
We did it! On Tuesday the Senate came through and passed a strong version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), legislation that supports women facing violence and exploitation.
Now more than ever the House of Representatives needs to hear our billion voices rising — and this is going to be a much tougher fight. Last year, the House gutted the inclusive VAWA and let politics get in the way of women’s human rights. It’s time for the new House to put partisanship aside and the rights of ALL women first.
We need a Violence Against Women Act that protects all women, including Native American and Alaska Native women, immigrant women and LGBT individuals.Send Congress a clear Valentine’s Day message: the time to pass an inclusive VAWA is now!
Good news! This week the U.S. Senate is poised to pass a strong, inclusive and bipartisan Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that will support women facing violence and exploitation in the United States.
But our work is far from done, and we must act quickly. Every day that goes by without this critical legislation moving forward in the House of Representatives is one more day that women’s safety hangs in the balance.
This Valentine’s Day, deliver your legislators a message they can’t ignore. Tell Congress the time is now to pass an inclusive Violence Against Women Act.
This year MUST be different.
Congress failed women last year by letting the Violence Against Women Act become a lightning rod for partisan squabbles, ultimately dooming the bill for the first time since 1994. The House version of last year’s VAWA left out protections for three communities that currently face disproportionate levels of violence and barriers to obtaining justice:
- 1 in 3 Native American and Alaska Native women will be raped in her lifetime. And when the perpetrator is a non-Native man — as in 86% of cases — a complex maze of jurisdictional issues can significantly delay the process of prosecuting the crime, or even allow the perpetrator to escape justice altogether.
- Immigrant women often face higher rates of sexual harassment and domestic abuse — but when it comes to reporting these crimes and seeking justice, they have few legal rights and little protection from abusers who would exploit their immigration status.
- LGBT violence survivors face discrimination when attempting to access potentially life-saving social services — discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
We think the new Congress might be the one — the one that will put partisan politics aside and pass an inclusive VAWA. But this bill can’t move forward if we don’t speak out for justice.
Managing Director, Women’s Human Rights Program
Amnesty International USA
P.S. Send all 3 human rights Valentines this year! Our VAWA Valentine joins others calling on the NRA to drop its opposition to the Arms Trade Treaty and calling on President Obama to either charge or release a Guantanamo detainee who has been held without charge for 11 years. Take action and share for human rights this Valentine’s Day!